COVID-19, NEWS — April 5, 2020 at 5:02 pm

Panic buying leaves stores’ shelves empty

The shelves that once held toilet paper and paper towels at the Costco on Coral Ridge Drive were completely empty on March 12 at 8 p.m. due to customers panic buying these products. Photo by Brianna Jesionowski

By the time the coronavirus disease had made its way to the United States it had already been deemed a pandemic by the World Health Organization. As of April 5, there are more than 9,400 reported deaths according to a CNN COVID-19 update. With uncertainty surrounding the country and people practicing social distancing, many shelves in grocery stores have been cleared. 

When a pandemic, or anything very dangerous occurs, “panic buying” often accompanies the situation. This is when customers buy unnecessarily large amounts of products due to a catastrophe. 

When visiting local grocery stores during times like these, it can be very difficult to obtain simple household supplies such as toilet paper, cleaning supplies, wipes, face masks, paper towels, hand sanitizer and other necessities.

“Anticipating a potential quarantine, shoppers ran out this weekend to buy food, water and other staples so they could avoid exposing themselves and their families. Others, alarmed by the rising death count and number of confirmed cases in the U.S., went on impulsive buying binges, stripping store shelves of toilet paper and cleaning supplies. Soon, hand sanitizer was nearly impossible to find in some places,” according to a March 12 article posted by USA TODAY.

Throughout Broward County, residents are fearful of the empty shelves. 

“I went to Walmart with my mom last weekend and there was absolutely no cleaning supplies or paper products at all, it is a very scary and abnormal thing to see,” sophomore Sidney Jenner said. 

During this pandemic, customers have been buying products faster than stores can restock their shelves, which leaves many people empty handed. This is considered unfair by many since some people can’t afford to buy a large amount of necessities all at once.

To try to stop customers from purchasing so many items at once, stores such as Publix, Walmart and Target have installed signs above their products urging customers to only purchase a certain number of each item.

“This weekend me and my mom went to Target and as we were shopping we noticed a sign that said ‘Please only take two’ over the shelves where the waters are,” sophomore Paula Mantilla said. 

For many stores, these new customer purchase limits have helped with the issue by keeping items in stock and expanding the number of people who have the opportunity to buy goods.

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Kelly Cooke is a junior at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. She loves writing and being active. She also enjoys spending time with her friends and family.

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